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Hear from the Students of the Flipped Classroom

May 19, 2020

Last week's post was a walk down memory lane and a bit of a challenge about talking to students in the flipped classroom - how it allows the time and teacher-brain space to have personal, one-on-one conversations with each of your students more often than the opportunity arises in the traditional classroom.

This week, we'll focus on hearing from students of the flipped classroom.

So often, for various reasons, primarily for safety of students, we only hear about classroom experiences from teachers.  Meaning, when it comes to soliciting experience inside the classroom when we're wanting to make decisions for our own classrooms, we only hear from teachers.

I am by NO means saying this is a bad thing, because, hey, even our most mature and articulate students are still, well, kids.  Less experienced, holding less expertise, and a different, less informative perspective.  

But what if we could hear from students about their classroom in objective ways?

I feel like their opinions could glean some important and significant takeaways for teachers when considering what might be best for their own students.

And that is what this week's post is all about.

Students

A few years back, I took a survey of my all junior and senior classes, asking them explicit questions about the flipped classroom telling them to not hold back.  I asked that they be nice, but to be honest.  And boy were they.

I asked questions like...

  • What positive experience have you had inside the flipped classroom?
  • What difficult experience have you had in the flipped classroom, were you able to work through it?  Explain.
  • Was there anything you weren't expecting about the flipped classroom or that you were surprised by?

Pretty run of the mill stuff, but their responses were so telling I couldn't NOT share them with you.

3 Insights from Students of a Flipped Classroom

I will be sharing three huge pieces of insight from students of my flipped classroom today.  But I have many more.  And, there's a way to get them all!  Check out these three below, then scroll down to sign up for my webinar (offered at the time of this post's publication) where I'll tell you how you can hear even more from them.

1. I didn't think I would like the flipped classroom at first.

I don't know why I was surprised by this one when I first read because I very well knew some of them were not all about it.  Even in year eight of flipping when students saw they had me on their schedule knew it would be flipped and they still didn't look forward to it.  Not all of them, but a handful each year.

But I think I was surprised by the fact that a handful of them articulated this in their survey response.

Here's what else they said:

"At the beginning of the year I thought I wasn’t going to like having to do the notes on my own, but I quickly realized how nice it is to be able to do the notes anytime during the day (therefore when it’s most convenient for me). When doing notes in class, it can be very boring which causes me to not pay attention as much. However, if I can do them when I am ready, I am able to focus and understand better.”

I was the type of student who was good at school - meaning taking notes was a synch and even in distracted situations, I knew how to get what I needed from live, in person notes.  

I realized quickly that not all students are like that.  Then, as I'm sitting here explaining to my 6-year old what the difference between a fact and opinion are, I certainly know very well that just because someone is doing the explaining, it doesn't mean it's landing on the brain it's aimed at.

There's something very personal about being able to watch and learn from a video at your own pace.  No one else has to know at what pace you're working through it, and no one has to know if you need to rehear what was just said or even google another way to say it so that you can better understand it.

Here's another quote from a student under this big takeaway of not liking flipping at first.

“I wasn't expecting to enjoy a flipped classroom as much as I do because I have a busy schedule, but it turned out to be ideal for me!  I was able to take notes when I could and get ahead if I needed to.”

Yet ANOTHER perk that I didn't see coming inside the flipped classroom.  It's a bit tricky for us to remember the hustle and bustle that is our students schedules during the school year - the youngest up to the oldest - they all have crazy schedules for the most part.  And to think, their schooling, better yet their asynchronous delivery of content can be worked in to their schedule.  Brilliant, if I do say so myself.

2. Taking notes at my own pace is a total game changer...

Ok, so I hit on this one above a bit, but it deserves it's own big heading because there's much more to it.  Check out what students specifically had to say about this one.

“I'm able to enjoy class more and not be panicked about getting all the notes done during class feeling rushed.”

"I can even get ahead on my notes – I didn’t do it all the time, but when I did, it was awesome."

"I thought taking notes from a video wouldn't be effective but it was better cause I never had to wait on other students to catch up.”

A bit different perspective right... showing us how students who are slower at taking notes AND those who tend to be slowed down by other students benefit from the flipped videos.

And, last, but not least...

3. There's more opportunity for me to ask my questions.

Say whaaaaat?  Ok, so I knew this one because I saw ahead of time how easy it would be for students to forget or just breeze past asking any questions they had.  So I built questions (student questions that is) into my class.

But, many teachers LOVE the part of lecturing and direct instruction where students are engaged and intrigued enough to ask their questions.  And that really is the best part, right?  Well, that's taken away in the flipped classroom since students are (for the most part, but not always) away from you when taking notes.

Check out what this student had to say...

"I liked that I was able to come to class with questions if I was confused on the notes instead of trying to cram in questions between slides in class. I also liked that we went more in depth on the notes in class to give us a deeper understanding of the content.”

BAM!

I've said this before, but I'll say it again.  Making your lectures into flipped videos is NOT the only VERY important part of the flipped classroom.  There's more to it.  And if you want to make sure all your hard work pays off (and, more importantly isn't a colossal waste of time), then focusing on the systems of flipping inside the classroom is absolutely imperative.  And teaching and routinely getting students to ask questions is one of those systems.

It's also a system that I teach inside of Flipped Classroom Formula, the online course I made to help teachers build and implement their thriving flipped classrooms.  

Plus, inside this summer's cohort I'll be adding tons of lessons and tutorials on how to make all this happen in an online or blended setting.

If you'd like to learn more about the flipped classroom, my course, the Flipped Classroom Formula, I encourage you to come to one of my upcoming webinars (May 2020).  You can click the image below to see the available dates and register when it works best for you.

We'll spend about 45 minutes to an hour inside of flipped classroom training, and if that resonates with you, I'll show you an opportunity to work more with me inside of Flipped Classroom Formula.  Then we'll take about 20 minutes to answer questions.

Here's the thing, teacher friend.  We haven't had the opportunity to really hear from our own students in authentic ways since early March.  If we want to make the most of this situation in ways that will benefit our students in both a blended and traditional setting (whenever we get back to that), then we've got to make decisions that will count for both.

Join me for the webinar and found out how.

And, don't forget, I go LIVE on Facebook every week.  This week's live being on Friday at 1pm (during little one's nap time so fingers crossed it goes well) to discuss the topics brought up in my blog post each week.  I hope to see you there.

 See you soon.

Until then,

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